A Guide To Cutting Cats Claws
Read time: 3 min
Jumping. Climbing. Hunting. Playing. Cats use their claws for so many things. But if they get too long, they can cause problems. Save your furniture, and your skin, from too-long claws by learning how to keep them trimmed.
Read on to learn how to trim a cat’s nails to keep them feeling happy and healthy.
Should I clip my cat’s claws?
Cats’ claws grow constantly. So part of being a cat parent means sitting down every couple of weeks to trim their claws. Not only do nicely clipped claws help save your furniture, it also keeps your cat comfortable. Overly long claws can catch on soft furnishings (potentially pulling and injuring their toes) or grow too long and embed themselves in their pads – ouch.
Cat claws too long: the symptoms
Just like our fingernails, your cat’s claws grow all the time. So sometimes they can get a bit too long. Too-long claws can be uncomfortable or even painful. And if left too long – and they grow into their paw pads – they’re at risk of infection.
Keep an eye out for these symptoms which mean your cat’s claws are too long:
Claws catching on blankets, cushions or carpets.
Their claws are visible even when relaxed.
They might struggle to scratch due to pain.
You can hear their feet tap when they walk on hard floors.
They might start limping or walking awkwardly.
Cutting your cat’s claws: step-by-step
You know the ‘why’. Now it’s time to learn the ‘how’. Grab your clippers and your cat. It’s time to get trimming.
Preparation for claw clipping
Make sure you’re prepared before you grab your cat. Lay out the nail clippers and gather the treats. (You’ll need them.) You may also want to have a towel handy, either to sit them on or to gently wrap them in.
Close the doors and windows so they can’t escape. Finally, hunt down your cat.
Make sure your cat is comfortable
Settle your cat where you’re going to trim their claws. Setting them up on a table might make it easier for you. If not, sit on the floor with them in your lap. Make sure you can hold them firmly but comfortably. Some cats really hate their claws being clipped. You may want to wrap them gently in a towel to prevent their escape.
Hold your cat’s paw for claw clipping
Gently hold each paw while you’re clipping them. You can lightly squeeze the pad and top knuckle of the claw you’re trying to clip to extend the claw out for better access.
Clip the tip of the claw
Use your clippers to cut off the tip of the claw. Make sure you don’t cut off too much or cut down to the quick. (The pink bit that provides blood flow to the nail.) Or you might make your cat bleed. Stick to the white parts at the tip.
Make sure you use proper animal nail clippers. Never use human nail clippers. They’re the wrong shape and might split your cat’s nail. Which can be painful.
Give your cat a treat
Treat time! After you’re done with one paw, reward them for being so good. You can give them one of our irresistible Chicken Nibbles or play with their favourite toy. Giving them a break between paws can give them time to decompress. So they don’t get too stressed.
Repeat for the rest of the paws
Start the process over for the next paw. Then the next. And the next. If your cat is very distressed you can do this process over a few days. But most cats can have their nails clipped in the space of a few minutes.
You might find it easier to have another person hold the cat while you clip. Or distract them with treats. If you’re worried about clipping their claws yourself, accidentally cut too much, or have a particularly aggressive cat, speak to your vet.
How often should I trim my cat's claws?
Make sure you’re trimming your cat’s claws every 2-3 weeks. You might find that a younger, outdoor cat won’t need as much nail maintenance as an indoor or elderly cat might.
You may also find that their back feet – used for jumping and climbing – might not need much trimming either. Every cat is different.
It’s important to note that you should never declaw your cat. Declawing cats is painful, affects their joints, and can cause behavioural problems. It’s the equivalent of cutting off the end knuckle of your fingers. And it’s considered so cruel that it’s illegal here in the UK.
When to seek help
If you’re finding it impossible to pin your cat down for a nail trim, or if you think their claw has grown into a paw pad, it’s time to seek help and call the vet.
Trimming your cat’s claws is all part of keeping them happy and healthy. Just like a good diet is. KatKin’s fresh cat food is full of all the good stuff your cat needs to thrive. And none of the carbs or fillers they can’t easily digest. Leaving you with licked-clean plates. And leaving them with plenty of energy to continue jumping, climbing, and playing.